The German government on Friday unleashed the biggest economic aid package in the country’s post-war history, offering companies “unlimited” credit to keep them afloat during the coronavirus crisis.
“There is no upper limit to the credit offered by (state-owned development bank) KfW, that’s the most important message,” said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
Some 550 billion euros ($614 billion) in government-backed loans that were announced is just “for starters”, said Economy Minister Peter Altmaier.
“We promised that we will not fail because of a lack of money and political will. This means that no healthy company, no job should find themselves in trouble,” he said.
“We will reload our weapons if necessary,” added Altmaier.
The ministers also signalled that Berlin has enough funds in its treasury for a long battle.
“If it lasts longer, we can go on longer,” said Scholz.
The message to companies is that; “You can be courageous, the risks will be carried by us,” he said.
The package, even in its first stage, is bigger than the 500 billion-euro help offered by the German government during the 2008 financial crisis.
Chancellor Angela Merkel had on Wednesday vowed to do what it takes to tame the coronavirus crisis, signalling she was even ready to suspend the cherished dogma of keeping Germany’s budget balanced.
“It is an extraordinary situation, we will do what’s necessary and luckily Germany is relatively robust… we will do what we can to get through this situation well, and we will see at the end of that where our budget stands,” she said, stressing that ending the virus crisis “comes first”.
Germany has now recorded over 2,300 cases of the coronavirus and seven people have died, according to the latest tally by DPA news agency.